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Exploring Greenland

In the Wake of Eric the Red

Reykjavík - Kangerlussuaq - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Albatros
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Embark on a cruise starting from Reykjavík and sailing to Kangerlussuaq, tracing the historic maritime route of the Norse settlers Explore Skjoldungen island on the Greenlandic east coast, pass through the Prince Christians Sound from East to West Greenland, and visit the capital of Greenland. Experience local folk dancing in Qeqertarsuaq and sail to the renowned Eqi Glacier in Disko Bay. Admire the World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord and its stunning icebergs at the Sermermiut Plain during the late evening. Finally, enter the long fjord of Kangerlussuaq and catch a glimpse of the muskoxen and reindeer roaming the tundra near the Greenland Icecap.
 
Polar bear in the ArcticExploring GreenlandOne of Greenland's many glaciersExploring GreenlandWhale sighting in Polar waters!View of a glacier in GreenlandMidnight sun light, IlulissatSun shining on the iceBig blue icebergs at glacier lagoon on IcelandView of an iceberg at dawnNarwhal sighting in the ArcticView of Reykjavik from the Church TowerHallgrimskirkja Church in ReykjavikStreet view of old town ReykjavikPolar bears in the ArcticExploring Greenland
Highlights
  • Explore Skjoldungen island and pass through the Prince Christians Sound
  • Witness local folk dancing in Qeqertarsuaq and sail through Disko Bay
  • Visit Ilulissat Icefjord, a World Heritage Site, and admire its icebergs
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Reykjavík, Iceland | Embark

The rock-like columns of Hallgrímskirkja Church loom over the city of Reykjavík, a hip Scandi capital that needs little introduction. With new Nordic cuisine, excellent shopping, fantastic excursions, and an easy relaxed vibe, Reykjavík is one of Scandinavia's most welcoming and exciting cities.

In the afternoon, awaiting the welcome of guests aboard Ocean Albatros. Following the mandatory safety drill, enjoy dinner and a glass of champagne while sailing a course for adventure across the Denmark Strait, bound for Greenland. 

Day 2: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Denmark Strait is the narrow section of the North Atlantic separating Iceland from Greenland. This body of water is among the most productive in the world, where the cold polar East Greenland Current collides with the warm northbound Gulf Stream. These nutrient-rich waters support vast stocks of fish, and the humans, seals, whales, and seabirds which rely on them. 

Days at sea are never dull. There is an arranged variety of activities onboard for guests to enjoy to engage the mind, body, and soul. Join your knowledgeable Expedition Team lecturers in the Theatre to hear specially crafted lectures on local history, wildlife, geology, culture, and more, unwind with a massage in the Albatros Polar Spa, or simply watch the seabirds gliding along the ship from hot tubs as the Ocean Albatros flies across the Denmark Strait. 

Day 3: Skjoldungen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today's adventure begins as you sail into magnificent Skjoldungen, a staggeringly beautiful fjord on the southeastern coast of Greenland. The fjord is named for Skjold, an ancient Danish King of Norse legend, while the Greenlandic name, Saqqisikuik, references the sunny climate of the area. Various archaeological finds on the island which sits in the middle of the fjord suggest nomadic Inuit groups visited and stayed in the area in years gone by; more recently, settlers were brought from Tasiilaq to settle the island in the 1930s, but returned there thirty years later; some houses can still be seen on the southern side of the fjord. A small weather station was also operated on the island by the Allies during WWII. 

Today uninhabited, Skjoldungen sits almost 300km from the nearest village, with Mother Nature its only ruler. Vast saw-toothed mountains lined with opalescent glaciers line the deep chilly waters of the fjord, which can freeze even in summer. At the head of the fjord lies the magnificent Thryms Glacier, a magnificent river of ice flowing down from the ice sheet. On the southern side of Thryms Glacier lies the sweeping U-shaped glacial valley of Dronning Maries Dal - a textbook example of a glacially-produced landscape. Join your expedition team for a walk on the flower-lined floor of this valley, and marvel at the stunning scenery. Ensure you are on the outer decks on the approach and departure from this magnificent fjord too: you will not be disappointed! 

Day 4: Prince Christian Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
South of Skjoldungen lies Kap Farvel, or Cape Farewell, which is renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point but also for its infamously challenging weather, which commonly features large swells and gale-force winds.

With this in mind, deliberately opt for a far more comfortable but also more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage of Prins Christian Sund. Known in Greenlandic by its typically descriptive name of Ikerasassuaq ('the Big Strait'), this 60 km long waterway reaches from the entrance on the southeastern coast of Greenland to the small village of Aappilattoq, connecting the Labrador and Irminger Seas. 

Prins Christian Sund is one of the most spectacular waterways anywhere on Earth. Kept free of ice year-round by strong tidal currents, the strait is hemmed in on either side by mountains that rise straight out of the water some reaching over 2,000m in height. Large glaciers flow from the ice sheet into the sea on the northern side of the strait, while sapphire blue mountain glaciers loom over the water from the southern side, and vast icebergs stud the glassy waters. 

Day 5: Qassiarsuk

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the early morning, Ocean Albatros will sail through the majestic mountains of Tunulliarfik Fjord towards the small village of Qassiarsuk. The southern fjords of Greenland offer a very different environment to the chilly north of the country. Situated at roughly 60°N, this region is level with northern Scotland or southern Scandinavia, with a climate to match. Here, the weather is calm, stable, and humid, with much warmer summers and milder winters than the rest of the country. In place of rocky hillsides, the fjords here are lined with lush green meadows and dotted with small sheep-farming settlements, of which Qassiarsuk is perhaps the best known. 

While the modern village of Qassiarsuk was founded in 1924, the location has a fascinating and much longer history; it was here that Eric the Red, a legendary Norse explorer settled after being banished from Iceland. He named the land he discovered 'Greenland' to encourage other settlers to follow him - a marketing ploy that has stood for over a thousand years! 

Erik the Red settled in this green landscape and set up a small farmstead in typical Norse style, naming his new settlement Brattahlíð. Erik himself kept fiercely to the Norse gods, but his wife Thjodhild was a Christian. Legend has it, she refused to join his bed until he built her a church, which he eventually did, constructing a tiny hut (Þjóðhildarkirkja) which was nevertheless the first church in the Americas (although he refused to have it within view of his house). 

The Norse settlers in Greenland stayed for almost 500 years but disappeared from all historical records in the early 1400s. Whether some plague or famine struck them, or whether deteriorating climate simply forced them to return to Scandinavia remains a topic of lively debate. Today the outlines of buildings (including Erik's house and Thjodhild's church) can be seen, along with stunningly accurate reconstructions of the farm. Modern Inuit farmers continue to raise sheep in the same farms as Erik the Red, and a statue of Erik now overlooks the village, commemorating the first European to reach the Americas, whose son Leif would be the first European to reach Baffin Island and Newfoundland. A site rich in fascinating history and culture old and new, the settlement of Brattahlíð is today part of the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Day 6: Nuuk, Greenland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A mixture of skyscrapers and traditional wooden houses, the quaint and the cosmopolitan, Nuuk is a city of contrasts. The vibrant bustling capital of Greenland, Nuuk feels much larger than its 19,000 inhabitants and offers a wealth of experiences to visitors. The calm fjords around Nuuk have been inhabited by Paleo-Inuit cultures since at least 2200 BCE, and archaeological evidence indicates waves of migration through the area as ancient hunters followed migrating prey. Around the year 100CE, Norse colonists from Iceland established the Western Settlement in the green meadows of Nuuk Fjord; these settlers mysteriously disappeared several hundred years later leaving the island to the Inuit, who were far better equipped to live in Greenland's harsh environment.

The next Scandinavian to visit the area was Hans Egede, the controversial Danish missionary who 'rediscovered' Greenland, founding Nuuk as Godthåb ("Good Hope") in 1728. Danish initiatives to modernize Greenland in the 1950s left a significant mark on Nuuk. While they brought significant improvements to the city's infrastructure, the many large apartment blocks in the city attest to rapid (and sometimes haphazard) urbanization. In 1979, the Home Rule Act created the Greenlandic Parliament (Inatsisartut) and proclaimed Nuuk the capital. The city's population continues to rapidly grow, with new suburbs being constructed beneath Ukkusissat, the mountain that looms to the east of the city. 

Nuuk offers a huge amount to the discerning visitor; larger than any other city in Greenland, Nuuk has a bustling cosmopolitan vibe and hosts some of Greenland's best attractions. Swing by Kolonihavn district to visit the Greenlandic National Museum, a treasure trove of history stretching back to the first inhabitants of this icy island - including artifacts from the Paleo-Inuit and Norse periods, as well as the spellbinding Qilakistoq mummies. Explore Greenlandic culture at Katuaq, the city's cultural center, and an architectural marvel; shop for authentic Greenlandic artworks in the city's many boutique shops, or simply relax at a hip curbside café with a Greenlandic coffee and watch this vibrant city in action. Nuuk York (as proud locals call it) is unlike any other city in Greenland, or indeed the world.

Day 7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
From Nuuk, Ocean Albatros will follow the rugged coast of Greenland northwards. All settlements in Greenland (with the exception of Kangerlussuaq) are situated directly on the ocean coast of the country, and the vast majority of residents (some 50,000 or so) live on the narrow strip of coast on the west of the country, facing the Davis Strait. Ocean currents bring warm water up from the Atlantic to the West Coast, enriching these wildlife-filled waters. During your day at sea, keep your eyes on the sea! Whales, seals, and a huge variety of seabirds are common in these rich waters. 

Days at sea are never dull. Arrange a variety of activities onboard for guests to enjoy, engaging the mind, body, and soul. Join your knowledgeable Expedition Team lecturers in the Theatre to hear specially crafted lectures on local history, wildlife, geology, culture, and more, unwind with a massage in the Albatros Polar Spa, or simply watch the seabirds gliding along the ship from hot tubs as the Ocean Albatros flies along the coast of Greenland. 

Day 8: Qeqertarsuaq and Eqip Sermia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Nestled below Disko Island’s 1,000-metre mountains, pull into port in a beautifully sheltered natural harbor. The place was aptly named Godhavn (“Good Harbour”) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name “Qeqertarsuaq” simply means “The Big Island”. 

For most of Greenland’s modern history, Godhavn was the political and economic capital of North Greenland (while Godthåb, now Nuuk, served this role in Southern Greenland). Its importance was due to the vast economic activity generated by whaling in Disko Bay, the preeminent Arctic industry since the 16th Century. As the whaling industry collapsed in the early 1900s, Godhavn lost its political status as all government functions moved south to Godthåb/Nuuk, and the town was forced to reinvent itself, changing its name to Qeqertarsuaq in 1979. Today, hunting and fishing are the main industries in Qeqertarsuaq, while tourism is becoming increasingly important. Ferries arrive in the town daily in summer from around Disko Bay, while in winter, access is only by helicopter from nearby Ilulissat. 

Qeqertarsuaq’s sweeping red-and-black basalt mountains are radically different from the rolling granite hills that characterize much of Greenland and provide much richer soil. Despite being situated well above the Arctic Circle, this rich volcanic soil and the area’s mild microclimate make it much more green and lush compared to the rest of the country. Locals from all over Disko Bay come to the island in summer to hunt and collect angelica, herbs, and mushrooms, and the stunning rock formations and black sand beaches attract visitors from all over the world. The town itself is typically Greenlandic, with quaint multicolored homes, a splendid museum, and the unique octagonal church nicknamed 'God's Inkpot' (built in the Norwegian stave style). With excellent hiking opportunities, friendly locals, and a fascinating place in regional history, Qeqertarsuaq has a lot to offer. From here, set sail across Disko Bay towards Eqip Sermia. 

Eqip Sermia (a typically descriptive Greenlandic name meaning 'the Glacier at the End of the Fjord') is a relatively small glacier compared to many in Greenland, although it is still a truly vast river of ice, flowing directly from the Greenland Ice Sheet. It is also one of the most active, and ice tumbles off the vast glacier front almost constantly. Watching the vast cataracts of ice fall into the ocean is a sight that has to be seen to be believed - and the comfortable viewing decks of Ocean Albatros offer the best possible platform to do so... Perhaps with a specially crafted cocktail in hand! 

From Eqip Sermia, reposition slightly southwards during the evening towards Ilulissat, the largest city in Disko Bay and the Iceberg Capital of the World.

Day 9: Ilulissat, Greenland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This is it. This is why visitors from all over the world come to Greenland. Translated from Kalaallisut simply as ‘icebergs’, Ilulissat has rightly known the world over as ‘the Iceberg Capital of the World’. Surely no other city on Earth occupies such a spectacular natural setting. 

Situated within a short walk of the harbor lies Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland’s most famous site. Choked with city-sized icebergs so closely packed one could almost walk across to the other side, Ilulissat Icefjord stretches 70 km from its outlet in Disko Bay near the city of Ilulissat back to the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This is the single largest glacier on Earth outside Antarctica, draining 13% of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and producing 10% of all the ice in the Northern Hemisphere (enough water to supply the annual needs of the entire United States). These mind-blowing statistics, together with the indescribably beautiful scenery, have secured the Ilulissat Icefjord designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While archaeological finds detail the long Inuit habitation of the area, the modern town has steadily flourished in the 280 years since its establishment; legendary Arctic explorer, Knud Rasmussen was born in Ilulissat, and his childhood home now houses the city museum. Today, Ilulissat is Greenland’s third largest town, with more than 4,500 inhabitants, and is undoubtedly Greenland’s tourism capital, with more hotel rooms than even Nuuk. The city offers excellent amenities to visitors, with fresh locally caught seafood served in the city’s cafes and restaurants, and excellent shopping – look out, especially for the Artist’s Workshop above the harbor, where you can buy handmade artworks directly from the artist. The city typically experiences dry sunny weather throughout the summer, and there are a variety of well-marked hiking routes around the Icefjord, with options to suit all abilities. 

During the visit, you will have the opportunity to join a boat trip with a local captain to the Icefjord (optional excursion – charge applies). The journey takes about two and a half hours and is considered the best way to experience the magic of Ilulissat Icefjord up close. If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to join a flightseeing excursion in fixed-wing aircraft over the Icefjord (optional excursion – charge applies).

Please note the boat and flight excursions to the Ice Fjord are not included in the general tour price. Refer to Price Information for further details.

Day 10: The Settlement Of Itilleq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The settlement of Itilleq, which translates roughly as "the Crossing place from the Sea", nestles at the foothills of the mountains and fjords which line central Greenland's backcountry. Situated just north of the Arctic Circle, Itilleq is one of the many tiny villages dotting the coast of Greenland.

The settlement is situated in the heart of the Aassivisuit-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was inscribed due to its ancient Inuit hunting heritage, documenting the entire habitation history of Greenland. While the turf houses and hide tents have been replaced by colorful modern houses, the lifestyle here has changes little since the Inuit first arrived in Greenland. The local highways are the water and the ice, and the sea and tundra continue to nourish the locals, as they have for thousands of years. Arctic char, reindeer, and muskoxen are typical catches and are all plentiful in the area.

Despite this ancient heritage, locals in Itilleq are still firmly in the modern world, with smartphones, speedy wifi, and satellite TV. However, the people of Itilleq remain justly proud of their ancient heritage and continue to move their culture forward in a modern fast-paced world. Locals are pleased to show off their picturesque town, and visitors are greeted with typical warm Greenlandic hospitality. After departing Itilleq, head slightly south and enter the 160 km-long Kangerlussuaq Fjord.

Day 11: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
During the night, sail up the 160-kilometer/100-mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, bid a fond farewell to the ship's crew, Expedition Team, and fellow travelers before shuttling ashore by Zodiac.

Due to Kangerlussuaq’s military history and present-day role as an important air travel hub, the town remains fairly isolated from Greenland’s rich cultural traditions, in comparison to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored. The town itself was largely constructed by the American military in the 1950s, and this small airport town has retained something of its Cold War atmosphere. Your Arctic adventure and time in Greenland concludes as you arrive at the sleek modern airport terminal - with memories to last a lifetime.

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Book by April 30, 2024, and save 30% off on select Arctic and Antarctica 2024-2025 departures. This promotion is valid for new bookings and cannot be combined with other promotions. To qualify, personal details and deposit payment must be received within seven working days of the booking. For trips with less than 90 days until departure, personal details and full payment must be received within 48 hours of the booking. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
Applies to Jul 29, 2024 departure

Per person starting at
$7,390
Ocean Albatros Cat GOcean Albatros Cat G
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Category G
Single Stateroom (Porthole) - 14 m2 Standard single Stateroom onboard, located on deck 3. This is a conveniently located State Room close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs during embarkation and disembarkation to begin your adventures.
Ocean Albatros Cat FOcean Albatros Cat F
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Category F
Triple Stateroom (Porthole) - 22 m2 There are four Triple Staterooms on board Ocean Albatros featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms. Triple staterooms are normally with twin beds however a double bed can be accommodated.
Ocean Albatros Cat EOcean Albatros Cat E
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Category E
French Balcony Stateroom - 14 m2 The French Balcony Suite is a standard Stateroom with a French balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All French Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7.
Ocean Albatros Cat DOcean Albatros Cat D
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Category D
Albatros Stateroom (Porthole) - 13-22 m2 The standard Stateroom on Ocean Albatros is close to the Mudroom and has quick access to the Zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the Zodiacs. The State Rooms are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay onboard Ocean Albatros. The standard State Rooms all have a double bed or 2 single beds and a bathroom. The State Rooms are located on deck 3 and 4.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category C
Balcony Stateroom - 18-22 m2 The most abundant type of Stateroom on Ocean Albatros located on decks 4 & 6. They have a balcony, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. If you desire to book two staterooms with connecting doors, this is also a possibility within this category.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Csp
Superior Balcony Stateroom (48) app. 24 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Cxl
Grand Balcony Stateroom (4) app. 30 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat BOcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category B
Balcony Suite approximately - 25-32 m2 Ocean Albatros has 6 Balcony Suites on board located on decks 4 & 6. The suites feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom, and a large balcony. The balcony suites can host 2 people.
Ocean Albatros Cat AOcean Albatros Cat A Balcony
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Category A
Junior suite - 39 m2 The 4 junior suites aboard Ocean Albatros have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom and a private balcony. The suite can accommodate up to 3 people.
Ocean Albatros Premium SuiteOcean Albatros Premium Suite
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Premium Suite (Freydis Suite)
Premium suite - 45 m2 – FS (Freydis Suite) The second largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. This 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a balcony and a spacious bathroom. Located on deck.4. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.
Ocean Albatros Family SuiteOcean Albatros Family Suite
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Family Suite (Brynhilde Suite)
Family suite - 52 m2 – BS (Brynhilde Suite) The largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. The Double-Bedroom, Family Suite is going to be located on Deck 7, featuring two interconnecting French Balcony Suites, accommodating up to 5 people on two double beds and a sofa bed. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.

Notes

Kayaking activities available on both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. 
Although kayaking opportunities are possible in most locations during each excursion in the Antarctic region, weather, sea, and ice conditions will dictate the when and where to ensure your safety and improve your experience.
In order to sign up for this activity, you need to have previous kayaking experience and attend a mandatory safety briefing by the Kayak Master. The cost is $345/person per outing and it can only be booked onboard.

Possible shared staterooms for same-gender, single travelers: Category C (Balcony Stateroom) and Category F (Triple Porthole Stateroom)
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Parkas and Boots in assorted sizes, suitable for shore landings
  • Guided walks with the expedition team
  • Free coffee, tea, and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Complimentary house wine, beer and soda at dinner (selected labels and brands, served at the a-la-carte dinners)
  • Flights Kangerlussuaq – Copenhagen
  • Taxes and tariffs
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Anything not mentioned under 'inclusions'
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance of at least $200,000 per passenger is required. Please bring a copy of your insurance onboard.
  • Kayaking - Offered on all ships and all trips if conditions allow. This can be booked onboard only.

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